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In 2019, again ranked in the Top 50 Gastronomy Blogs and Websites for Gastronomists & Gastronomes in 2019 by Feedspot. (Last Updated Oct 23, 2019)

"The Best Gastronomy blogs selected from thousands of Food blogs, Culture blogs and Food Science blogs in our index using search and social metrics. We’ve carefully selected these websites because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information.

36. Gerry Dawes's Spain: An Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads customized gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. Frequency about 2 posts per week."

"My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless crisscrossings of the peninsula have done the most to introduce Americans—and especially American food professionals—to my country's culinary life." -- Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés of José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019

"Trust me everyone, I have traveled with this man, if Gerry Dawes tells you to eat somewhere it's like Bourdain, believe it!!" - - Chef Mark Kiffin, The Compound Restaurant, Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“Spain wouldn’t be as known to Americans without the stories Gerry tells and writes.” - - Superstar Catalan Chef Ferran Adrià, elBulli

"But, for Gerry, Spain is more than just the Adriàs and (Juan Mari and Elena) Arzaks. He has connected with all manner of people working at every level and in every corner of Spain. I’m always amazed at this reach. You can step into a restaurant in the smallest town in Spain, and it turns out they know Gerry somehow. I remember one rainy night in Madrid during the 2003 Madrid Fusión congress. I wanted to go to my favorite place for patatas bravas, the ultimate tapa. But Gerry had another place in mind, and I didn’t know about it. But Gerry is always right. The potatoes at his place were amazing.” - - Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019; Chef-partner of Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, New York 2019

"Gerry Dawes loves Spain, and he loves Spanish wines. And the man knows whereof he speaks. The country bestowed upon him its prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomia (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003, and here’s what James A. Michener said about him in Iberia: SpanishTravels and Reflections: “In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain, Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia … His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth … ” I first reached out to Dawes when I was planning a culinary journey to Barcelona, Rioja, and the Basque region of Spain, in 2011. I found his website and began reading, and have been learning from him ever since. Then, when I was preparing to stage at Arzak, in 2012, Dawes offered me some sound advice: learn Basque. He is opinionated – “You must decide whether you love wine or carpentry. If you want wood in your wine, suck on a toothpick as you drink your vino.” – he lives life with passion, and he respects wine and the men and woman who make it. Here’s to Gerry!" - - The Original Drinker: Spanish Wine Master Loves a $15.99 Rosado, Hates Wood and Always Avoids Wine Bars, James Brock, Paper City,

Food Arts Silver Spoon Award to Gerry Dawes

 Premio Nacional de Gastronomía - - James Beard Foundation Nomination (Best Wine Writing)
Premio Periodistíco Cava

Gerry Dawes's Article Medieval Riches of El Cid's City (About Burgos, Spain)
Front Page, The New York Times Sunday Travel Section

 About Blog Author Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award)

Gerry Dawes at Marisquería Rafa in Madrid.
Photo by John Sconzo, Docsconz: Musings on Food & Life 

Custom-designed Wine, Food, Cultural and Photographic Tours of Spain Organized and Led by Gerry Dawes and Spanish Itinerary Planning

7 Days, 7 Nights: Beyond Paella, A Video Culinary, Wine & Travel Adventure in Valencia & Alicante with Gerry Dawes & Special Guests

If you enjoy these blog posts, please consider a contribution to help me continue the work of gathering all this great information and these photographs for Gerry Dawes's Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel. Contributions of $5 and up will be greatly appreciated. Contributions of $100 or more will be acknowledged on the blog.

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Casa Lucio in Madrid with Aldea NYC's Georges Mendes, Peruvian-Italian chef Rafa Rodriguez, Colombian chef Jorge Rausch & Colombia Ministry of Commerce Rep. Ximena Hernandez,

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Casa Lucio Jan. 21, 2013. George Mendes, Aldea NYC, Anne McBride (Culinary Institute of America) y amigos. Photo by Gerry Dawes copyright 2013 / / Facebook / Twitter.

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003.

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 

Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television series
on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.



Chef George Mendes of NYC's Aldea Restaurant takes in a flamenco performance at Cafe de Chinitas in Madrid after a day at Madrid Fusion 2013.

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Chef George Mendes (foreground) of NYC's Aldea Restaurant takes in a flamenco
 performance at Cafe de Chinitas in Madrid after a day at Madrid Fusion 2013. 
 Photo by Gerry Dawes copyright 2013 / / Facebook / Twitter.

Slide show (double click to activate.)

Madrid Fusión 2013: Super Star Chefs Dani García of Calima in Marbella and Manzanilla NYC with his mentor Martín Berasategui

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Dani García of Calima in Marbella and Manzanilla NYC 
with his mentor Martín Berasategui at Madrid Fusión 2013.
 Photo by Gerry Dawes copyright 2013 / / Facebook / Twitter.


My Profile of George Mendes for the Madrid Fusión 2013 Book with Photos

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Chef George Mendes, Aldea Restaurant, New York City
by Gerry Dawes©2013

Aldea Restaurant NYC's George Mendes with Juan Mari Arzak at Madrid Fusión 2013.
Photo by Gerry Dawes copyright 2013 / / Facebook / Twitter. 

My profile of George Mendes for the Madrid Fusión 2013 Book

    Chef Georges Mendes, Chef-partner at Aldea restaurant, a highly regarded temple of modernized Portuguese and Portuguese colonial influenced food, fondly remembers being raised by his Portuguese parents who immigrated to the United States and settled in Danbury, Connecticut.  Good food was always a key element in the culture of his family.

    “Before I went on what would become a momentous high school field trip to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York (50 miles west of Danbury), I already had an afición for cooking.  At home, I had a lot of exposure to good food from my mom and my dad.   Our holidays always revolved around big feasts of Portuguese dishes for up to 30 of our family members.   During my youth, I was always surrounded by a lot of good cooking.

    During that trip to The Culinary Institute, I thought “Wow!, this is a profession,  something I might like doing.  The atmosphere of with all the kitchens, the kitchen heat, the bustling movement and being under pressure attracted me.”  

    Shortly after high school, he enrolled at The Culinary Institute.  After graduating in 1992,  Mendes’s first job was at the classical French cuisine Stonehenge restaurant (Ridgefield, CT), then he trained with a top New York chef, Ed Brown at Tropica.

    “At Stonehenge, we were being taught the very heavy, butter-and-cream laden dishes of classic French cuisine, which are important, but with Ed Brown, I learned about pristine, really fresh seafood.”

    One Sunday, Mendes attended a cooking class conducted by star New York chef David Bouley and Roger Jaloux, chef at Paul Bocuse restaurant in Lyon. 

George Mendes, Aldea restaurant, New York.
 Photo by Gerry Dawes©2012. Contact
    “At that class, I saw the really hard-core professionalism of a kitchen brigade.  I was impressed with how beautiful and masterfully prepared the food was.  So, after a year at Tropica, I did a Saturday night stage at Bouley restaurant and was offered the a job at the amuse bouche station, where I worked from 1994 to 1996. 

    During that time, I was sent to Paris to do a two-month stage with Chef Alain Bassard at Arpege.  Having classic experience in my pocket already, then going to Paris and staging at a three-star Michelin restaurant was incredible.  Just being in Paris, I discovered the culture of refined French cooking.  Alain Bassard was just taking off with the vegetable movement and really intense game dishes. L’Arpege had a huge impact on me.   I learned the importance of vegetables and the quality of ingredients, which was something I had not really seen in the U.S. ”  

     Mendes later staged at Le Moulin de Mougins under Roger Vergé, but it was a stage with Spanish Basque chef Martín Berasategui that would have a profound impact on him.

Martín Berasategui and George Mendes, Madrid. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2012. Contact
     “Martín ran a very hard and rigorous kitchen, but I was impressed with the quality of his cocina de vanguardia, his interpretations of dishes and his understanding of flavor.  He came from his family’s Bodegón Alejandro in San Sebastián’s old quarter, where his mother had a big influence on his cooking sensibilities.  I started thinking about the similarities we had in growing up in families immersed in food culture.  
     My experience with Berasategui helped me reflect on what kind of chef I wanted to be.  I only staged with Martín for a month, but it was really intense.  I doesn’t take very long to absorb lessons when immersed in that kind of atmosphere, working 12-15 hours a day with a maestro like Martín.   My stage at his restaurant was my introduction to not only cocina de vanguardia, but flavorful, honest cooking with a backbone.  That’s why I love Martín’s cooking.  Lunch at Martín Berasategui on my last day with the dishes that I had only seen in the kitchen was one of the most memorable meals of my life.

    Later, in 2006, I did a stage with Ferran Adrià at elBulli and that was a continuation of cocina de vanguardia, but at a whole different level.  With Ferran, it was a ‘no rules’ philosophy:  Have an open mind, be inspired by global flavors and don’t be afraid to take risks. Ferran took cooking to another level.  

    I came back to New York in 2006 and knew I wanted my own place where I could cultivate my style, but I did not yet have the backing, so I took a sous chef’s job at Toqueville, which turned into almost three years of executing someone else’s ideas.  But, it gave me time to reflect on where I came from and what I wanted to do.  My time at Toqueville also cultivated the seed of understanding the restaurant business, customers’ needs and how to run a restaurant.”  

    Then, George Mendes says he met Adam Haber, who wanted to back his dream, which became Aldea restaurant in New York City.  At Aldea, Mendes decided to do his own signature cuisine.

    “I decided to use some Spanish cocina de vanguardia techniques, but with the most emphasis on Portuguese culinary roots and ideas, including those of Portuguese colonies around the world.  That is where Ferran Adrià comes into the picture.  ElBulli was in Catalunya, but you might be served several Japanese-influenced dishes, several with Mediterranean-influences and a broad range of globally derived dishes.  When I opened Aldea, it was labeled a so-called “Iberian” restaurant, but although there is a major focus on Portugal, ideas were drawn from a very broad map.  I also go back to fact that the Portuguese were seafarers who discovered many sea routes.  We brought the exotic spices from India to Europe.

    Like the Portuguese Age of Discovery, I think my career from my teenage years, going to culinary school, working in a wide range of restaurants, traveling and being able to discover different styles of cooking, is a reflection of my Portuguese ancestry and inspires a culinary style that resonates with me.”
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